In Scotland, recreational golf players have still been able to play in pairs – as was the case in the rest of Britain before the most recent lockdown came into effect.
And on Monday, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed his roadmap for Britain’s exit from the ongoing coronavirus-enforced lockdown, it was announced that golf courses would reopen on 29 March.
The reintroduction of golf was always unlikely to be immediate, with Johnson’s roadmap consisting of several staggered stages and the return of recreational sport coming along the way.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi had said ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement that some outdoor sports would return on 29 March, the same date on which people will be allowed to meet in groups of six or as two households.
Therefore, golf courses will reopen on that date at the earliest with certain guidelines in place in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“The simple way to look at this is that outdoor is safer and therefore we prioritise versus indoor,” Zahawi told LBC. “Outdoor sports – tennis, golf, outdoor organised team sports, grassroots football – will go back on March 29.”
Johnson similarly suggested that outdoor activities marked the “best way to restore freedom while minimising risk”.
Indoor leisure centres, including gyms and swimming pools, will reopen on 12 April at the earliest, and major sports events could begin to welcome back fans from 17 May.
England Golf released a statement expressing their “extreme disappointment” at the government’s decision to delay the return of the sport.
“England Golf is extremely disappointed that the scientific evidence presented to government detailing how the sport can be played in a Covid-secure manner has not resulted in a return to play date earlier than 29 March,” the governing body said.
“We will now examine the details of the government’s roadmap before making further comment and working with our community of clubs, counties and golfers to prepare for the game’s safe return.”